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Broken Embraces Review

Movies.com Critics

4.5

Dave White Profile

And broken movies, cars, hearts, legs and faces. Read full review

3.5

Jen Yamato Profile

There's Something About Penelope Read full review

Other Critics provided by Metacritic.com

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0
    76

    out of 100

    Metascore®
    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    A voluptuary of a film, drunk on primary colors, caressing Penelope Cruz, using the devices of a Hitchcock to distract us with surfaces while the sinister uncoils beneath. As it ravished me, I longed for a freeze frame to allow me to savor a shot.

    Read Full Review

  • 70

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    This is a pretty minor film from the filmmaker. It feels like more of an exercise in plotting and movie nostalgia than a story about real people.

    Read Full Review

  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    As a film that pays tribute to vintage '50s Hollywood, Broken Embraces is a visual delight.

    Read Full Review

  • 80

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    Mr. Almodóvar's love of movies informs every frame of this beautiful film.

    Read Full Review

  • 91

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    Many of the characters go by two different names. So best advice for optimum viewing is, see Broken Embraces...twice.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Broken Embraces reviews at Metacritic.com

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

not for kids

Stylish Almodovar drama is too mature for teens.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this drama -- like Spanish director Pedro Almodovar's other movies -- is a complex, engrossing story with themes that are too mature for even most older teens, including infidelity and spousal abuse. Expect frank sexual discussion and some steamy scenes (lots of moaning and groaning, as well as a close-up view of naked breasts), domestic violence (a man pushes his wife down the stairs), swearing, and drug use.

  • Families can talk about the movie's messages and role models. Are any of the characters purely "good" or "bad"? What is the movie saying about love and relationships?
  • What do you think the movie's title means? To which embraces does it refer? Is it literal or metaphorical?
  • Why does Harry Caine abandon his identity? If he wanted to forget it, why does he then hang onto evidence of who he once was?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Although the drama here is heavy and complex and characters often behave questionably, the ultimate take away is that true love knows no bounds and, while often hard to attain, is worth the cost. The movie also sends that message that love manifests itself in many ways, not just through passion.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: Some characters speak disparagingly of others, and others are portrayed stereotypically. A woman who marries a much older man out of gratitude later resents him and has an affair with another man (with whom she falls madly in love). A young man is a helpful friend to an older man, who returns the favor when he takes care of the boy after a drug trip gone bad. The rich flaunt their money through jewelry and clothing.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: A husband pushes his wife down the stairs, which breaks her legs. He also threatens her when she verbalizes her desire to leave him. A man shoves around another man who’s been following him with a camera. Husband and wife argue loudly.

  • sex false4

    Sex: A man and a woman heave and moan on a sofa; nothing is seen, but it’s clear they’re having sex. Before the act, they engage in sexual banter, and, soon after, he fondles her breasts, which are seen close up. Another couple engages in a steamy embrace; they’re under the sheets, but their backs, shoulders, and legs are exposed. A woman talks about hating having sex with her husband, whom she pretends to like but despises. Frank talk about sex acts. A man talks crassly about his ex-wives with his current male lover.

  • language false3

    Language: Everything from “son of a bitch” to “f--k" to "ass" to "for God's sake," though not used constantly. Some derogatory terms are also said.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Nightclub DJs talk freely about drug use and offer each other MDMA, meth, and other substances. Characters snort cocaine. One collapses after having a drink spiked with roofies.

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